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- The Forecaster
SCARBOROUGH—Chalk up another emphatic, impressive win for the Falmouth boys’ lacrosse team.
Saturday afternoon at defending Class A champion Scarborough, the Yachtsmen got off to a slow start and led just 2-1 after one period, but once Falmouth hit its stride, the Red Storm simply couldn’t counter.
The Yachtsmen scored six unanswered goals before halftime, got seven goals from sophomore Will Sipperly and cruised to a 13-3 victory, their third in a row with ease this spring, dropping the Red Storm to 3-1.
“We take some time early on to figure things out,” said Falmouth coach Mike LeBel. “Once we understand what they’re doing on defense, we know how to attack. The guys did a nice job.”
Falmouth was a superior team in 2010, winning 10 of 12 regular season contests, which included the first two wins over perennial powerhouse Cape Elizabeth in school history, but in the Western Class B Final, the Yachtsmen lost in overtime to the Capers, 7-6, to finish 11-3.
After losing All-Americans Dan Hanley and Mike Kane, some expected Falmouth to slip this spring, but it got a measure of revenge in its opener, April 15, when it pulled away for a surprisingly easy 12-4 home victory over Cape Elizabeth. Wednesday, the Yachstmen had no trouble with visiting Waynflete in a 17-5 win.
Scarborough was 4-4 at one point last spring, but saved its best for last, winning three of its final four regular season contests before going on to upset Portland, 8-6, in the Class A Final, to wind up 11-5.
The Red Storm put on a defensive clinic in the early stages of the 2011 season, blanking visiting South Portland (11-0) and dominating host Cheverus (4-1) and visiting Noble (14-2).
A year ago, Falmouth edged visiting Scarborough, 4-3.
This time, the game wouldn’t be anywhere near as close.
Neither team scored until the contest was seven minutes old. Finally, Red Storm sophomore John Wheeler broke the ice with an unassisted tally.
Then, slowly, the Yachtsmen came to life.
With 3;39 left in the 12-minute first quarter, Sipperly took a pass from junior Mitch Tapley and beat Scarborough sophomore goalie David Pearson with a shot to tie the score. Then, with 51 seconds remaining, Tapley scored unassisted to put the visitors ahead to stay.
Falmouth then pulled away in the second period.
Just 59 seconds in, Sipperly scored (from sophomore Charlie Fay). With 10:10 to go before halftime, Sipperly set up Tapley and it was 4-1.
Beginning with 7:12 left in the half, the Yachtsmen scored three times in two minutes as Sipperly (unassisted), Tapley (unassisted) and Sipperly (from Tapley) struck for a 7-1 advantage. Fay (from Sipperly) tickled the twine with 1:56 left and Falmouth had a comfortable 8-1 lead at the break.
“We were all just clicking and Tapley found everybody,” said Sipperly. “We have more scorers than last year. Last year, we had two main guys everyone was looking at. This year, we have eight or nine guys.”
The Yachtsmen kept the pressure on in the third period, getting goals from Sipperly (unassisted, while falling down), Tapley (unassisted) and senior Nick Bachman (unassisted) for an 11-1 bulge.
An unassisted strike from senior Zach Alexander 1 minute, 18 seconds into the fourth made it 12-1 and put the game on the brink of a “mercy rule” running clock, but Scarborough finally ended the 12-0 run and its 32 minute, 27 second drought when junior Jon Blaisdell scored with 8:33 to play.
With 7:25 left, Sipperly scored one more time, giving him his varsity high seventh goal (which will certainly be broken at some point). An unassisted goal from Red Storm senior Peter Moore with 1:38 to play accounted for the 13-3 final score.
“Mitch really took control and things fell into place,” LeBel said. “We’re pretty focused. We have a lot of options. It seems like Mitch is always on. He sets the tone and gets the defense sliding. He does a nice job keeping his head up and going to the cage and finding the open guy.”
Falmouth was led by Sipperly’s seven goals and one assist. Tapley had three goals and three assists. Alexander, Bachman and Fay (one assist) all scored once. Junior goalie Cam Bell was his usual solid self when he was needed, making 14 saves. The Yachtsmen defense, led by junior Mike Ryan, controlled play and the unrivaled faceoff skills of junior Abyn Reabe-Gerwig (14 wins in 19 tries) helped Falmouth have possession most of the way.
“I would say Will Sipperly is probably the best sophomore in the state,” said LeBel. “I’d say Mitch Tapley is the best attackman in the state. I would say Mike Ryan’s the best defenseman in the state. I would say Cam Bell is the best goalie in the state. Abyn is the best faceoff man in the state. I have the best player at each position.”
Then, LeBel added, jokingly, “The only thing holding them back is the coaching staff.”
For Scarborough, Blaisdell, Moore and Wheeler all had the goals. Pearson made 18 saves.
“(Falmouth’s) excellent,” said Red Storm coach Joe Hezlep. “I feel like we matched up pretty well, but if Cam Bell’s not the best goalie in the state, you’ll have to convince me there’s one that’s better. We had plenty of chances and had great shots to get back in this game and he stuffed every one of them. If he’s not in net, it’s a completely different ballgame. I’ve had a chance to coach (Sipperly) and he doesn’t play like any sophomore in Maine I’ve seen in a long time. He’s one heck of an athlete.
“One thing I’ve learned is when you win, you’re never as good as you think you are and when you lose, you’re never as bad as you think you are. I see the scoreboard, but it’s not indicative of how we played. There are a lot of positives we can take out of this.”
Scarborough is back in action Wednesday when Thornton Academy comes calling. Saturday, the Red Storm go to always challenging Kennebunk. They also have to go to North Yarmouth Academy and finish the regular season at home with a state final rematch versus Portland.
A repeat won’t be easy.
“TA will be a good test,” said Hezlep. “We have to play every game.”
For Falmouth, Tuesday brings a home date versus NYA, then Saturday, the Yachtsmen have an opportunity to not only beat perennial powerhouse Yarmouth for the first time, but to end the Clippers’ nine-year home winning streak.
Believe it or not, but Falmouth feels it can still get better.
“We definitely need to improve on ground balls and play better position defense,” Sipperly said. “I think, other than that, we’re looking good. We’re having fun.”
Falmouth sophomore Will Sipperly circles behind the cage while being followed by Scarborough senior Mark Pearson. The defending Class A champion Red Storm had no answer for Sipperly Saturday, as the sophomore scored seven times.
Falmouth senior Nick Bachman runs past a fallen Scarborough defender.
Falmouth sophomore Will Sipperly is watched by Scarborough senior Mark Pearson. Sipperly went off for seven goals in the Yachtsmen’s win.
Scarborough senior Will Lynch holds Falmouth sophomore Charlie Fay at bay.
Scarborough junior Jon Blaisdell seeks running room while being tailed by Falmouth senior Zach Alexander. Blaisdell had one of his team’s three goals.
Falmouth sophomore Charlie Fay’s bid for a goal was denied on this play by Scarborough sophomore goalie David Pearson.
Scarborough senior Tim Smith looks for an open defense while pressured by Falmouth junior Weston Scott.
Falmouth junior goalie Cam Bell denies Scarborough sophomore John Wheeler during the teams’ showdown Saturday afternoon. The Yachtsmen broke open a close game in the second quarter and went on to a 13-3 victory over the host Red Storm.
More photos below.
F- 2 6 3 2- 13
S- 1 0 0 2- 3
5:00 S Wheeler (unassisted)
3:39 F Sipperly (Tapley)
:51 F Tapley (un)
11:01 F Sipperly (Fay)
10:10 F Tapley (Sipperly)
7:12 F Sipperly (un)
6:39 F Tapley (un)
5:10 F Sipperly (Tapley)
1:56 F Fay (Sipperly)
10:38 F Sipperly (un)
9:16 F Sipperly (un)
3:51 F Bachman (un)
10:42 F Alexander (un)
8:33 S Blaisdell (un) TWO-MEN UP
7:25 F Sipperly (Tapley)
1:38 S Moore (un)
F- Sipperly 7, Tapley 3, Alexander, Bachman, Fay 1
S- Blaisdell, Moore, Wheeler 1
F- Sipperly, Tapley 2, Cooleen, Fay 1
F- (Bell) 14
S- (Pearson) 18
Faceoffs (Falmouth, 14-5)